China, Philippines return to negotiations

May 12, 2012 at 4:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines, May 12 (UPI) -- China and the Philippines have resumed negotiations over a simmering dispute over territorial waters, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

China has laid claim to the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is considered to be rich in energy and fisheries resources.

Hong Lei, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said China's demands its public service ships and fishing boats be left alone in the area and Philippine vessels leave the area, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Saturday.

Del Rosario said the Philippines would never agree to the demands and would instead seek only a temporary agreement to the stalemate until a long-lasting solution can be obtained.

"A diplomatic result ending the current impasse in Bajo de Masinloc, which we hope can be achieved, will at best be a temporary one," del Rosario said. "Ultimately, we will need an overall solution."

Philippine officials have asked for the dispute to be settled at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas.

The Scarborough Shoal is more than 100 miles from the Philippines and 500 miles from China, the BBC reported.

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